PC and console market grew 2.6% in 2023, but playtime hours fell | Newzoo

The PC and console market grew 2.6% in 2023, but playtime hours fell during the year, according to the second annual report on the market by market researcher Newzoo.

The comprehensive report from Amsterdam-based Newzoo said the number of players is also expected to decline over time.

“The games market has recovered after a slight dip in 2022, but truly significant growth is still not on the immediate horizon,” said Tom Wijman, lead analyst at Newzoo, in a statement. “We remain cautiously optimistic as our data and analysis identified trends and winning strategies to find new players, compete for playtime, and connect gaming with mainstream media.”    

That helps explain in hindsight why game companies expanded with new employees and studios during the pandemic as playtime hours dramatically grew — and then laid off 10,500 people in 2023 and a further 8,000 this year as the business stalled while people returned to pre-pandemic habits.

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Key insights  

Newzoo’s estimate of PC and console growth in 2023.

The industry will see modest growth amidst market challenges. The PC and console market grew revenues by 2.6% in 2023, reaching $93.5 billion in revenue. But average quarterly playtime has decreased by 26% since the first quarter of 2021, with players spending over 60% of playtime on games released six or more years ago. 

Six-year-old or older games account for 60% of PC/console game revenue.

The future of the franchise ? About 60% of new game playtime (or 15% of total playtime) in 2023 went to franchises that release annual installments like Call of Duty, NBA2K, or EA FC. 

Playtime by subgenre.

Emerging markets are a bright spot. PC and console players in emerging markets have a forecasted compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) of +4.7% and +4.8%, respectively, from 2023-2026 .

The full PC and console gaming in 2024 report is free to download on the Newzoo website.